Clinical Derma



Syringomas are benign skin growths originating from sweat glands, often appearing as small, skin-colored or yellowish bumps under the eyes, upper cheeks, or other body areas. Their cause is not fully understood but may involve genetic predisposition, hormonal influences, skin type, and certain underlying medical conditions like Down syndrome and diabetes. Females are more frequently affected than males. Syringomas usually first appear during puberty and are more common in those with darker or oily skin. While they are not harmful or painful, they can cause distress due to their appearance. Treatments are mostly cosmetic and include laser therapy, excision, dermabrasion, and cryotherapy, but recurrence is common.


Syringoma is a non-cancerous (benign) skin condition characterized by the growth of small bumps or tumors, often under the eyes or on the upper cheeks, though they may also occur in other parts of the body such as the chest, armpits, scalp, abdomen, and genitalia. These bumps are typically skin-colored or slightly yellowish and may vary in size from 1 to 3 millimeters. They may be distributed individually or in clusters.

Syringomas are derived from the cells of sweat glands (eccrine glands) and are named as such because “syrinx” means “tube” in Greek, a reference to the sweat duct from which the lesion originates.

While the exact cause of syringomas is not fully understood, several factors are thought to play a role in their development:

  1. Genetic Factors: There’s evidence to suggest that syringomas may have a genetic component. Some people may inherit a predisposition to develop these growths.
  2. Hormonal Factors: Hormones might play a role in the development of syringomas. These lesions often first appear during puberty, suggesting a hormonal influence.
  3. Skin Type: Individuals with certain skin types may be more prone to developing syringomas. For example, people with darker skin tones or oily skin may have a higher risk.
  4. Underlying Medical Conditions: Syringomas can be associated with medical conditions such as Down syndrome, diabetes mellitus, or other systemic diseases. However, it’s important to note that syringomas are commonly seen in otherwise healthy individuals.
  5. Gender: Females are more frequently affected by syringomas than males.

From a non-clinical perspective, syringomas can impact a person’s quality of life due to cosmetic concerns. They are often not harmful or painful, but some people may find them distressing due to their appearance, particularly when they occur in visible areas like the face.



Are usually asymptomatic, meaning they do not cause pain or discomfort. However, in rare instances, some people may experience itchiness, particularly when sweating. Because of their appearance, syringomas may cause psychological distress or embarrassment, especially when they are located in visible areas.


 Of syringomas is typically made by a dermatologist through a clinical examination of the skin. The characteristic appearance of these small, skin-colored bumps in typical locations can often lead to a presumptive diagnosis.

However, to confirm the diagnosis, a skin biopsy may be performed. During this procedure, a small sample of skin is removed and examined under a microscope. Histologically, syringomas appear as nests of small ductal structures in the dermis, the deeper layer of skin. The ductal structures are lined by two rows of cells and may contain a comma-like tail, which is a key feature in identifying syringomas.

In some cases, dermatologists might use a dermoscope, a tool that allows for magnified visualization of the skin’s surface, to aid in diagnosis.

Keep in mind that any new or changing skin growths should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to rule out other conditions. If you have any concerns about your skin, please do not hesitate to seek professional medical advice.

Prognosis and Impact

While syringomas themselves do not cause physical discomfort or harm, they can have a significant psychological impact, especially when they’re located on the face or other visible areas of the body. Patients may feel self-conscious or distressed about their appearance due to these lesions. This can lead to reduced self-esteem and potential social or emotional distress.

In some cases, syringomas can be associated with underlying conditions such as Down syndrome, diabetes mellitus, or other systemic diseases. If syringomas are present along with these conditions, the prognosis will be tied to the management of the primary condition.

Treatment for syringomas is primarily for cosmetic reasons and includes options like laser therapy, cryotherapy, dermabrasion, or surgical excision. However, recurrence after treatment is common, and it’s important to discuss this with patients to manage their expectations.

Treatment Options

Here are the main treatment options:

  1. Laser Therapy: Certain types of lasers, such as the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser or erbium:YAG laser, can effectively remove syringomas by vaporizing the lesions. This treatment may require multiple sessions.
  2. Cryotherapy: This involves freezing the syringomas with liquid nitrogen, which destroys the lesion. It can cause a slight discoloration of the skin in the treated areas.
  3. Dermabrasion: Dermabrasion involves mechanically sanding down the skin to remove the syringomas. It’s often combined with other treatments like laser therapy for better results.
  4. Electrocautery: This method uses electricity to heat and destroy the syringomas. It’s often used in combination with curettage, which is a surgical procedure to scrape off the lesions.
  5. Surgical Excision: In this procedure, the syringomas are removed using a scalpel. This method is usually reserved for larger lesions.
  6. Topical Retinoids: Although not typically the first line of treatment, some dermatologists may recommend the use of topical retinoids. These medications can help to reduce the size of syringomas, although they’re more commonly used to treat conditions like acne.

Risks and Side Effects

  1. Laser Therapy: Lasers can cause temporary redness, swelling, and pain in the treated area. There’s also a risk of skin discoloration, particularly in people with darker skin tones. Less commonly, blistering, scarring, or infection can occur.
  2. Cryotherapy: The primary risk associated with cryotherapy is pigmentary changes. The treated skin can become lighter (hypopigmentation) or darker (hyperpigmentation) than the surrounding skin. There is also a slight risk of scarring and damage to underlying tissues.
  3. Dermabrasion: Dermabrasion can cause redness, swelling, and sensitivity in the treated area. There’s a risk of scarring, skin discoloration, and infection. It might also cause flare-ups of existing skin conditions such as acne or rosacea.
  4. Electrocautery and Curettage: These treatments can cause discomfort during and after the procedure. The risks include scarring, skin discoloration, and infection. There is also a risk of incomplete removal, leading to recurrence of the syringomas.
  5. Surgical Excision: While surgical excision is generally effective, it carries risks such as scarring, infection, and skin discoloration. There’s also the potential for recurrence if not all of the syringoma cells are removed.
  6. Topical Retinoids: Side effects can include redness, dryness, peeling, or irritation of the skin. There’s also a potential for increased sensitivity to sunlight, so sun protection is crucial while using these medications.

Overall, while these treatments can effectively reduce the appearance of syringomas, they all carry some level of risk. The likelihood of side effects can depend on several factors including the treatment method, the skill and experience of the provider, the size and location of the syringomas, and the individual’s skin type and overall health. It’s important to discuss these factors and your personal preferences with your dermatologist to choose the most appropriate treatment approach.

FAQ Section

What are syringomas? 

Syringomas are benign (non-cancerous) skin growths that usually appear as small, skin-colored or slightly yellowish bumps. They originate from sweat glands and often appear under the eyes or on the upper cheeks, though they can occur on other parts of the body.


What causes syringomas? 

The exact cause of syringomas is not fully known. However, they may be influenced by genetic factors, hormonal changes, skin type, and certain underlying conditions such as Down syndrome or diabetes mellitus.


Are syringomas harmful? 

Syringomas are benign and do not pose a threat to health. They are not painful or harmful but can cause psychological distress due to their appearance.


How are syringomas diagnosed? 

Syringomas are typically diagnosed by a dermatologist through a skin examination. A skin biopsy, where a small sample of skin is examined under a microscope, may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis.


How are syringomas treated? 

Treatment for syringomas is primarily for cosmetic reasons and includes options like laser therapy, cryotherapy, dermabrasion, surgical excision, and electrocautery. Topical retinoids may also be used in some cases.


Will syringomas come back after treatment? 

There is a possibility of recurrence after treatment. The likelihood of recurrence can depend on several factors, including the treatment method used and the individual’s skin type and overall health.


What are the risks or side effects of syringoma treatments? 

Potential side effects depend on the treatment chosen and can include temporary redness, swelling, and pain in the treated area, scarring, skin discoloration, infection, and, in rare cases, damage to underlying tissues.


  1. James, William D., et al. “Andrews’ Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology.” (12th Edition, 2015).
  2. Bolognia, Jean L., Julie V. Schaffer, and Lorenzo Cerroni. “Dermatology.” (4th Edition, 2017).
  3. “Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology” (9th Edition, 2019).
  4. Peer-reviewed articles from medical journals such as the “Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology” and “Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology”.

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